In the age of exploration, wayfarers and voyagers traversed the globe with simple tools such as a compass rose, quadrant, and nautical chart. Now in the digital age, the tools we rely on for discovery have evolved from their analog format into interactive navigation menus that we use to explore the world wide web.

As a web consumer, you know the frustration of navigating a website with confusing menus. To keep things organized, each section of the website contains a Navigation file (named that updates the gray menu at the right side of the screen on desktop (and the top of the screen for mobile).

  HEAD'S UP: Due to the higher level of impact that this file has on a department's content, a Navigation file can only be edited by Section Admin users (or higher) and requires an understanding of the entire department's content. Note that all users can create an Interior Page and select Add to Navigation, however, a Section Admin user must publish the Navigation file to make the page publicly accessible through the navigation menu.

How to Edit the Navigation

1. Check Out the Navigation File

While you are Editing a Page, click the Back to Pages link in the upper left corner of the screen. Then, open the file for this section of the website — this automatically "checks out" the file to you for editing.

  PRO TIP: Need to link to a page that is in a different section of the website or highlight key calls to action? Learn how the Section Sidebar is more effective than the Navigation file for this purpose.

2. Make Changes to the Navigation File

As you are editing the file, you can add a bulleted item by creating a new line, remove a bulleted item by deleting an existing line, or update the hyperlink for a bulleted item (i.e., if Page Titles or URLs are changed) by clicking the Insert/Edit Link  icon and then clicking the URL  icon to open the Select File window for page files.

Here are some best practices for writing the hyperlinked text of each bulleted item in the Navigation file:

  • Use "Overview" for the Landing Page: The top bulleted item should be a link to the Landing Page and named "Overview". This term is preferred over "Home" and "Welcome" for the clearest navigation throughout the website.
  • Include each Interior Page within the section: With only rare exceptions, a bulleted item should be applied to each Interior Page within this section of the website.
  • Maintain a length of one line when possible: Name each bulleted item as close as possible to the Page Title of the Interior Page, but shorten it within reason if the length goes onto a second line (avoid uncommon abbreviations).
  • Do not link to pages in other sections: If you need to link to pages that are in other sections of the website, it is recommended to use a Section Sidebar to add a Related Links box.
  • Be mindful of the total number of bulleted items: Most web design experts recommend about 4-10 bulleted items in a navigation menu; any more or less can be difficult for the end user.

The process of making changes is done in the editing interface, as seen in the example below.

Navigation File

3. Save and Publish the Navigation File

To update the website with your edits, click the SAVE button and PUBLISH button. Don't forget to view the published file on desktop AND mobile to ensure that everything is neat and tidy.

  EXTRA INSIGHT: A few final notes upon publishing...

  • If the Navigation file is displaying with one too many levels of indentation, it is likely because there is an extra "unordered list" parameter. This can be edited in the Source Code by removing the <ul> and </ul> tags, or you can Contact Us for assistance.
  • If the Navigation file has a broken link to a page, check to make sure the page has been published.
  • Unlike the Section Properties file which requires all pages in the section to be published, the Navigation file updates all pages in the section as soon as the file is published.
  • When creating new Interior Sections, be sure to publish the Navigation file at the same time as all other files. If the Navigation file is not published, you will receive an error in navigation menu on the live website.
  • If you are a Global Admin looking to update the Global Header Navigation, update the Navigation file in the following path: /_resources/includes/